Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/Astronomy
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Magic|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban|
Astronomy instructs students on planets, stars, and other sky objects and their role in the magical world. At Hogwarts, astronomy is an elective, offered in years three through five; those with sufficiently high O.W.L. marks in the course can then go on to N.E.W.T.-level study in years 6 and 7. We believe that at Hogwarts it is taught by Professor Sinistra.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione sign up for this course in their third year, and we believe Hermione takes it through to her sixth year at least. Harry and Ron are seen to take the OWL exam in that course, but as they are disturbed by the firefight surrounding Hagrid's dismissal, they manage only an Acceptable OWL mark in the course, and do not continue at that point.
We must be careful in discussion of astronomy to differentiate it not only from the branch of Muggle fortune-telling and Wizarding Divination known as "astrology", but from the study of the motion of spatial objects called "Astronomy" in the Muggle world. It is certain that Wizarding astronomy involves location of the heavenly bodies and determinations of their relative motions, but we expect that the impact of the motions of these bodies also has some magical effect, and the Astronomy course almost certainly is involved with the memorization of these effects and their uses. We note the following two examples of this sort of effect: in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we see Professor Slughorn collecting something that is "most efficacious if harvested at twilight", as he remarks to Professor Sprout. And in our world, there is a belief that crops will grow better if planted "in the dark of the moon."